College visits are an essential part of the selection process. After all, it’s one thing to read about a school on paper, and another thing entirely to actually stand on the campus. These visits give students an in-person look at the school, campus, town, and overall atmosphere. Though college visits have decreased recently, primarily due to the pandemic, there are benefits of visiting a college before applying.
It Can Help You Understand the Student Experience
Nothing really shows you the college and student experience like visiting the campus (aside from actually attending). You’ll be able to talk to current students, faculty, and staff, see where the dorms and classes are, check out the food options, step into the library, and just explore the campus. You can also take a trip to the nearby city or town!
Schools Only Show You What They Want You to See
Whether you’re on a tour (in person or virtual) or simply perusing a website and social media, colleges tend to only show you what they want you to see. Students will always be smiling and active in videos and photographs, for example. The campus will always be at its most beautiful. Is this the reality?
The only way to really know is to visit and see for yourself. If you’re attending an in-person tour, make sure to also schedule some time to explore on your own.
You May Realize It’s Not What You Expected (or It’s Exactly What You Wanted)
Visiting a college really helps you see what students see and experience on a day-to-day basis, something that isn’t easy to identify online. You might find that it’s exactly what you dreamed of in a school, or discover it’s not at all for you. The only way to really find out is to visit.
What If You Can’t Visit Before Applying?
For some though, it may be difficult or even impossible to visit all colleges you’re interested in before applying. This could be the case if the college is far away, if you’re busy with your senior year, or you have a larger list of schools you’re considering And that’s okay.
There are other ways to get a feel for the campus. Virtual tours have risen in popularity due to the pandemic.
Why It’s Worth it to Visit a College Before Applying
Visiting a college before even applying is ideal. It will help you get a better picture of a college and if you decide it’s not for you, mean less work when it comes to your applications. It could, on the other hand, cement which college you’d prefer to attend. If you can’t get there before you apply though, definitely make plans to visit if you receive an acceptance letter.
If you want in-depth research about a college without the hassle of visiting, check out our match tool!